History of Quarai
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(From Special Report on Quarai State Monument, May 1939)

Erik K. Reed
Regional Archaeologist
National Park Service
Region III

Santa Fe, New Mexico
December, 1940

1. Discovery: the coming of the Conquistadores

The first Spanish expedition to New Mexico, that of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1540-41, seems to have visited virtually all the pueblo settlements except those of the Salinas region, the group to which Quarai belongs. There is no mention in the Coronado narratives of these pueblos, or of any that can be interpreted as being these, even as known only through hearsay. Although Coronado's army, or parts of it, visited the villages on the Rio Grande west of Abó Pass, visited settlements in the Galisteo Basin not far north of the Chilili-Tajique area, and passed about 60 miles to the northwest when going up the Pecos River on the way back from Palo Duro Canyon, Coronado's forces neither saw, nor even heard of, the Salinas pueblos, so far as can be learned from the account of Castaneda, and the minor documents of the Coronado expedition. All the villages listed by Castaneda are accounted for otherwise.

When the main army under Tristan de Arellano was returning from the Palo Duro, while Coronado with a party of horsemen headed northeast in search of Quivira, it passed by salt lakes, described in Chapter 21, first part, of Castaneda's narrative (Winship, pp. 444 and 510). Bandelier says, on page 185 of Indians of the Rio Grande Valley: "The salt marshes were probably those near the Manzanos, but the Spaniards do not seem to have known anything of the Tigua and Piro villages then extent on the southern ruin of the Salinas and on the so-called Medano." As a matter of fact, it is doubtful that these were the same salt lakes and that the army came so close to the Salinas pueblos. The salt "lagunes" mentioned by Castaneda are thought by the Texas historians Donoghue and C. E. Castaneda to be those on the Llano Estacado in Bailey County and Lamb County, Texas, and Roosevelt County, New Mexico. This is clearly more probable, as the salt "lagunes" were seen before reaching the Pecos River, which was followed up to Cicuye (Pecos pueblo). There is no indication that the army left the Pecos and detoured westward.

The second Spanish entrada was that of the soldier Chamuscado and the priest Rodriguez in 1581. They came up the Rio Grande Valley instead of following Coronado's route, but did not go east of the Manzanos until after returning to the Rio Grande, in late October 1581, from visiting the Zuni towns. Apparently they passed through the mountains by way of the San Pedro Valley. Near the salines, about fourteen leagues east of the mountains, they found several pueblos. Bustamente says simply, "adjoining the salines many other pueblos were seen and visited." Five are named and listed as follows by Gallegos (Hammond and Rey): Zacatula (125 houses, two-storied), Ruiseco (200 houses, two- and three-storied) La Mesa (90 houses, three-storied), La Hoya (95 houses, two- and three-storied). These must be, as Bolton, Mechem, and Bandelier say, Chilili, Tajique, and the ruins in the vicinity of Manzano. They were informed at Franca Vila, according to both the Gallegos Relation and the Bustamente declaration, that there were three other much larger, pueblos, away from the salines. Because of the snow and bad weather, they did not visit them. These three are thought to be Tabira, Abó, and either Tenabo (Mecham) or Quarai (Senter). It seems probable that if the vicinity of Manzano was visited, Quarai, if occupied at that time, would have been, and that the third of the larger more distant pueblos was Tenabo. Or else, it is possible that Abó and Tenabo, as well as Quarai, were among those visited and the large towns farther away from the salines were the pueblos of the Jumanos. In any case, it is quite probable that Quarai, if then in existence, was visited, for the first time by any European, in November 1581 by Chamuscado and Rodriguez.

In February 1583 the merchant Antonio de Espejo came up the Rio Grande to Tiguex, and, either from Puaray (Espejo's own statement) or from the northernmost Piro settlement before going on north into Tiguex and to Puaray (Luxan, Obregon), made a side-trip of four days, with two companions, one of them Luxan, ten leagues eastward from the Rio Grande to the province of the "Maguas" or "Magrias". It comprised eleven pueblos of 250 houses each according to Obregon's Cronica; totaling 40,000 people — an impossible figure — according to Espejo; "Each of these pueblos must have about 800 people, young and old," says Luxan. They were close to the plains, and had bison-hide (acquired by trade with the Jumanos or the Apaches, perhaps) as well as cotton and deerskin garments; there were no springs or running arroyos, but they had maize and turkeys; their houses were well-built, of slabs and rocks and whitewashed inside; the province was well forested with pine and juniper.

The description fits well enough the salinas area, especially the forest and the lack of water. Despite the fairly detailed description, however (and Luxan goes on to describe their kivas and idols), there is no mention whatever of the salt lakes which made such an impression on Chamuscado and, later, on Oñate. The description of the province also fits the San Pedro Valley area fairly well, except for the number of pueblos. The Galisteo Basin cannot be the province of the Maguas, as there are the Ubates, east of the Queres, visited by Espejo in June, to be accounted for, and the description of the country does not fit the Galisteo.

An important point in this connection is, that these were the same Maguas who had killed Fray Jhoan de Santa Maria the previous summer. Father John had been one of the three priests accompanying Chamuscado; he decided for some reason, while they were in the Galisteo region, to return alone to Mexico and report their discoveries, and further decided to take a short-cut east of the mountains. Three days out he was killed by the Maguas. Espejo found that the Maguas or Magrias, among whom he was, had killed Santa Maria; "However, we made friends with them, saying nothing of these murders." A prudent procedure, since the Spaniards numbered only three (with a few Indian servants). Here, perhaps, is to be found the explanation of Espejo's statement that the people numbered 40,000.

Now, Bolton, Mecham ("Antonio de Espejo"), and others, have assumed without question that the province of the Maguas is that of the Salinas pueblos. Yet in another paper in the same year Mecham ("Second Spanish Expedition") is of the opinion that the location of Santa Maria's martyrdom was most probably in the San Pedro Valley, and Bandelier has more specifically stated (Indians of the Rio Grande Valley) that Paako (now a State Monument, a Tano town in the San Pedro Valley occupied until about 1670) was probably the scene of Father John's death.

It is stated that the killing occurred three days after his departure. How this can be definitely known, I do not see but if it is true, he should have been in the neighborhood of Tajique or Quarai, judging by the day's journeys of Oñate in the same area.

If Espejo's statement that they went from Puaray to the province of the Maguas is correct, they must have gone through the San Pedro Valley by way of Paako. Perhaps the eleven Magua pueblos include Paako and also the Tiwa villages further south (Chilili, Tajique, Quarai). If Luxan and Obregón are correct in saying they went from the northern Piros, they would have gone through Abó pass, and the Maguas were the whole Salinas group. Probably Luxan and Obregón are in the right: Espejo was supposedly making the trip in the hope of succoring frailes Rodriguez and López at Puaray, and might easily wish not to emphasize his having made a side-trip before reaching Puaray.

Espejo and his companions did not necessarily visit each of the eleven pueblos, but may have visited only a few and heard about the others. Luxan does not specify eleven, but says there are simply "many" pueblos, and much of his description is obviously referring to one specific town. Also, the killing of the priest may not have been at the village or villages they visited, but simply at one of the general group.

The lack of any mention of the salt lakes is very significant.

Obviously, it is not proven that Espejo visited the Salinas pueblos, though it seems quite probable. It is not wholly clear where Santa Maria was killed, or where Espejo and Luxan left the Rio Grande for their eastward trip. It certainly could not be said definitely that Antonio de Espejo visited Quarai, but it is quite possible that he did, if Quarai was an occupied pueblo in the sixteenth century.

Evidently the next entrada, the short-lived colonizing venture of Castano de Sosa in 1590 did not come near the Salinas; there is no memtion in the records (Hull) of the salt lakes or of suitably situated villages.

The illegal and ill-fated Humana-Leyva Bonilla party in 1594 is very little-known; they spent about a year in New Mexico, headquartered at San Ildefonso (Bolton, 201), so it is not impossible that they got down to the Salinas pueblos. There is nothing known as to what pueblos they visited or did not visit, except for Cicuye (Pecos) and San Ildefonso.

In the summer of 1598 the first permanent Spanish settlement in New Mexico was established by Don Juan de Oñate close to San Juan pueblo (Chamita, New Mexico). As soon as possible, Oñate traveled about the province, receiving the submissions of the various pueblos to the crown of Spain. "I went in person to the province of Abó and to that of the Xumanas and to the large and famous salines of this country, which must be about 20 leagues from here" (letter of Oñate to the Viceroy, the County of Monterrey, written at San Juan on March 2, 1599). This is the first mention of the names Abó and Jumanos. The name Quarai does not appear in the Oñate documents (Hodge, "Pueblo Names"). The trip is briefly described in one of the Relaciones que envio Don Juan de Oñate de algunas jornadas (Bolton, 223-234): "On the 6th October of the year 1598 the governor set out from this pueblo of San Juan .... on the next (fifth) day five leagues to the first pueblo of the salines; on the next day four leagues to the last pueblo of the salines. We remained there three days, and visited the salines, which lie to the east five or six leagues from there .... next day we went three leagues to the pueblo of Abó, and the next day four leagues to the Xumanas .... on the following day we came from there to the second pueblo of Abbo, a league and a half. The next day we returned to the last pueblo of the said Gallinas and then to the first pueblo of the Gallinas or Salinas;" they then went, by way of "Portecuelo" (probably Paako) to Puaray, and thence on the western trip to Zuni and Hopi.

The first pueblo of the salinas is perhaps Chilili, and the last pueblo where they spent three days and whence they crossed the Estancia Valley to see the salt lakes, possibly Quarai. The "second pueblo of Abbo" is probably Tenabo. The distances to the Jumanos seems insufficient and are confusing; and later (see below) Abó is referred to as a Jumano town.

Quarai was undoubtedly visited by Oñate in October of 1598, and was possibly host to him for three days. This is our first really definite point; provided, again, that Quarai was in existence at all.

In 1599, Vicente de Zaldivar with twenty-five men, on his way to the south sea, seems also to have gone first to the salinas region, to secure provisions from the Jumanos ("Xumanas"). They brought him stones instead of food, and were generally obstreperous. Oñate himself came down with fifty men, killed a few Jumanos, burned part of the pueblo, and hanged his interpreter (Hammond 1927, 132). There is no mention of Abó or Quarai.

In January or February of 1601 five soldiers deserted Oñate's camp and fled toward Mexico; they were attacked by the Jumanos and two were killed (also twenty of their horses; no wonder they were fleeing). The other three returned to San Gabriel; and at the same time it was learned that the Jumanos were planning to descend on, and wipe out, the colony. Vicente de Zaldivar (the maese de campo, Oñate's nephew) was sent to Abó — referred to here as a Jumano pueblo — to punish the killers of the two soldiers. The Indians assembled in Agualaco (probably the same as Acolocu, listed elsewhere as in the province of Chealo), and attacked the Spaniards as they approached. After a six-day battle the pueblo was taken and burned. Nine hundred Indians had been killed; a considerable number more were executed, and a number of slaves taken, almost all of whom escaped promptly. (The foregoing from Hammond, 1927, 155). The name Agualaco or Acolocu is as much like Cuarac (the old form of Quarai) as it is like any other known name in the vicinity; the name Chealo, the province comprising the Tiwa pueblos east of the Manzanos (Hodge), is not unlike both Chilili (Bandelier) and Cuarac. There is just a possibility that this fierce fight in the winter of 1601 occurred at Quarai.

In any case, this battle seems to have convinced the salines pueblos of the validity of their formal submissions to Spanish authority in October 1598. After 1601 all mentions of this area deal not with pacifications but with missionization.

2. Conversion: The Beginning of Missionary Activity in the Salinas

The first missionary work in the Salinas region, so far as known, was in 1598; that of fray Francisco de San Miguel, a chaplain of Oñate's army, who, according to Hodge (notes 17 and 29, Ayer, pp. 215, 232), ministered to Quarai, Abó, Tenabo, and Tabira from his headquarters at Pecos.

No mention of missionary work in the Salinas in the succeeding twenty years has been encountered; presumably the Salinas pueblos were visited occassionally by friars from Pecos or other mission stations.

Fray Juan de Salas ministered to the Salinas from Isleta during the period 1622-1629 (Hodge, note 54, Ayer, p. 275), and made a missionary journey to the Jumanos in 1629-1630 (Scholes, "First Decade of the Inquisition", 215).

In the spring of 1629 Father Esteban de Perea, who had founded the Sandia mission and had been the custodian of New Mexico from 1617 to 1626, returned to New Mexico bringing thirty new friars. This considerable accretion to the corps of friars made possible the expansion of the missionary program. One of the priests who had accompanied Perea, fray Francisco de Acevedo, evidently went immediately to the Salinas country and began, in the summer of 1629, the construction of large mission churches at Abó, Tabira, Tenabo, and Quarai.

Acevedo made his headquarters at Abó, evidently, and so far as known remained there until 1644 (he died at Abó in 1644, according to Prince; but in Scholes, "Supply Service", and "Troublous Times", 417, a fray Francisco de Acevedo is listed among the friars present in the custodia in 1665; and was guardian at Alamillo in 1659). Father Perea himself took over the mission at Quarai in 1630.

3. The Mission Period, 1630-1670

The mission period begins, in the Salinas region, with the actual building of churches and conventos at Quarai and other pueblos in 1629-1630. The mission of Purisima Concepción at Quarai was presumably completed to the point where a minister could reside, and hold services, in it in 1630, when fray Esteban de Perea went there. Father Perea remained at Quarai until his death in 1638 or 1639. Perea was the custodio of the province and, after 1631, the local representative of the Holy Office; in other words, the first resident priest of Quarai was at the time the supreme ecclesiastical authority of New Mexico. Perea was relieved of the custodianship by Juan de Salas in 1631, but retained his office with the Inquisition until his death. (Scholes, "First Decade", 206, 214-215; Scholes, "Church and State", Ch. V., 298-299).

Fray Juan de Salas became custodian for the second time in 1638, replacing fray Juan de Gongora, and served until 1641. In 1643 (Hodge, note 54, Ayer, p. 275) he was the "guardian of the convent of Cuarac". Probably he assumed his post at Quarai in 1638 or 1639, at the death of Perea. It is possible that he did not go to Quarai until the expiration of his custodianship in 1641; in that case there is a gap of two years, during which we do not know who was the resident priest at Quarai. It is probable that Salas was at Quarai from 1638 to 1650.

During Salas' second custodianship, the secular authority — the civil governor and military commander — was Luis de Rosas. Like several other governors of New Mexico, Rosas was a quarrelsome and arbitrary ruler, and had considerable trouble with the priests. Roses apparently had had especial difficulty with father Perea and still felt animosity after Perea's death. In 1640 he raided the convents of Sandia and Cuarac, at both of which Perea had been guardian, and in each desecrated the room that had served as headquarters for the business of the Holy Office, which Perea had represented (Scholes, "Church and State", 323). It may have consoled Perea's spirit that Rosas was murdered while in chains during his residencia.

In 1650, fray Geronimo de la Llana took over the Quarai mission, possibly upon the death of Salas, who does not appear again in the records. De la Llana, a native of Mexico (a Creole; of pure Spanish blood), had entered the Franciscan Order in November 1629 in Mexico City. Obviously he could not have been, as is occasionally stated, the founder of Quarai mission. Just when he came to New Mexico is not known; he was in Santa Fe in 1636. He died at Quarai, and was buried there, in 1659.

During de Llana's time, one other priest was at Quarai briefly — in July 1555 father Salvador de Guerra, from one of the Hopi missions, was disciplined for excessive cruelty and other offenses by being confined to the convent of Cuarac until the departure of the next caravan for Mexico (Scholes, "Troublous Times", 146).

Fray Nicolas de Freitas, who left Mexico City for the New Mexico missions in the 1658-59 caravan with Governor Mendizábal — Doc Rel, (Carnegie 330, Vol. 3) (Scholes, "Supply Service", Part II, 208), was at Quarai in 1660 and 1661 (Scholes, "Troublous Times"); presumably he went directly to Quarai upon his arrival, since de Llana had already died (Scholes, "Supply Service", 209). According to Vetancurt, Menologio, 240, he died on July 19.

The then governor of New Mexico, López de Mendizábal, was turbulent and arbitrary and extremely anti-clerical like Luis de Rosas. A large proportion of the incidents caused thereby occurred at Quarai.

In 1659 or 1660 López appointed as alcalde mayor of the Salinas District, with headquarters at Tajique, an illiterate, mestizo, ex-murderer from Parral, Captain Nicolás de Aguilar (Scholes, "Troublous Times"). Aguilar, with the sanction and encouragement of Governor López, made life as difficult as possible for the friars of Tajique and Quarai, and interferred with them continually.

In June, 1660, Aguilar, in the name of the governor, ordered the Indians of Cuarac not to assist in the service of the convent as cooks, porters, etc., removed the Indian fiscal who served as an assistant priest, and forbade the Indians to serve as acolytes during mass. On the following day, father Freitas preached a strongly-worded sermon, antagonistic to the secular authority. Aguilar was present, and interrupted, telling the Indians to leave. They would not. Freitas and Aguilar had a hot argument afterwards, in Freitas' cell (Scholes, "Troublous Times", 402-403).

On one occasion, father Freitas had an Indian woman of Curac whipped for adultery and sheep-stealing; she went to Santa Fe and complained to the governor. Although the woman admitted her immorality, Governor López had Aguilar discipline the fiscal who had whipped her (Scholes, "Troublous Times", 411).

On another occasion, father Freitas had certain Indian girls of Curac whipped by the capitan mayor. Aguilar summoned the latter to Tajique and whipped him (evidently he never dared to strike directly at the priest, though he once threatened to send him to Santa Fe in a pack-saddle — Scholes, "Troublous Times", 404), maintaining that the real reason Freitas had had the girls whipped was that they had accused the priest of Tajique, fray Diego de Parraga of immorality (Scholes, Troublous Times", 410). Very possibly Aguilar was correct, as father Parraga was later investigated by the civil authorities, though cleared by the ecclesiastical authorities, for living in sin with an Indian woman (Scholes, "Troublous Times", 420-421).

Governor López had twenty Indians of Cuarac whipped for singing in the choir at the pueblo of the Jumanos, but with a fair reason. He had forbidden the people of Cuarac to go to Tabira or the pueblo of the Jumanos whenever the Apaches came there to trade (and the Apaches were not to come beyond the Jumanos and Tabira), because two Apaches from Siete Rios had come to Cuarac late one night and had been attacked, one being killed (Scholes, "Troublous Times", 401).

Governor López would have wanted to preserve amity with the Apaches not only for the safety of the settlements, but also for the safety of his own commercial enterprises. López was quite a businessman, and among his activities was extensive trade with the Apaches of the Siete Rios district, carried on for him by Don Esteban Clemente, an outstanding Pueblo leader of the Salinas district (Scholes, "Troublous Times", 396).

Other business operations of Governor López de Mendizábal included the employment (without pay) of Indians to gather, and bring together at depots, piñon, salt, and other commodities, for export by caravan to Parral to be credited there to López' personal account. Among such activities by New Mexico Indians in 1661 were: sixty laborers from Curac were forced to go to the pueblo of the Jumanos and convey loads of piñon from there to the Rio Grande, seventeen days; nineteen Indians from Abó sent six days bringing maize from Tabira to the house of Captain Aguilar; and Indians from Tabira brought large quantities of salt from the salines to the house of Sargento Mayor Francisco Gomez at Las Barrancas on the middle Rio Grande. (Scholes, "Troubles Times", 394).

The idea that salt from the Salinas was "bartered with tribes as far south as Parral, Chihuahua" (Hodge, note 22, Ayer, p. 22), may perhaps be due to the fact that salt was one of the commodities especially prominent in Governor López' exports in 1660 and 1661. Otherwise, this would be an extraordinary distance from aboriginal trade of this sort.

One of the charges against López at his residencia (held by Governor Peñalosa late in 1661) was that he would not permit the Indians to work without pay for the missions, and that there were consequent losses of several sorts, and the friars were greatly inconvenienced (Scholes, "Troublous Times", part 3, p. 67). Evidently he wanted the Indians free to work for him without pay.

Father Freitas and others complained to the custodio and, by letters, to Mexico. In January 1661 Freitas went to Mexico and complained to the authorities, including the Inquisition. Captain Aguilar was arrested by the Holy Office on August 29, 1661, and an order was issued for the arrest of ex-governor López in March, 1662.

Evidently fray Nicolas returned td his post at Quarai, for in 1669 he moved the remains of father de Llana to a better resting place in the mission.

During this period, between 1664 and 1669, a conspiracy for a great insurrection, in alliance with the Apaches, originated at Quarai, headed by Estsban Clemente. The plot was detected, however, and Don Esteban Clemente was executed. (Bandelier, p. 265).

The mission of the Immaculate Conception at Quarai was a large and important one. A copy made at Madrid in 1664 by the secretary-general of the Indies, fray Bartolome Marquez, of a report of somewhat earlier date includes the statement "the pueblo of Curac has a very good church, an organ and choir, and very good provisions for public worship; there are 658 souls under its administration". The same document mentions Abó with 1,580 people, with the visitas of Tabira and the Jumanos; Chilili with 250 (including "many people from the other pueblos"); and Tajique with 484 souls. (Scholes, "Documents", 48.) Quarai probably had a larger population than Abó if the figure of 1,580 includes the population of the two visitas, as is likely. A peculiar point is that a convento as well as a church is mentioned for each of the other three, even Chilili, but not specified for Quarai. This is merely an omission, however, quite surely.

Another puzzling feature of the foregoing is the statement that Tabira and the pueblo of the Jumanos were visitas of Abó, and failure to mention Tenabo. This must be an error as a document of 1667, "certification concerning the friars of New Mexico" by fray Domingo Cardoso, minister provincial, lists among the priests who have served from August 1663 to August 1666: in the convento of San Miguel de Tajique, one friar who also looks after the convento of La Natividad de Nuestra Senora in Chilili, another man is needed; in the convento of La Purisima Concepción of the pueblo of Cuarac, one friar, another is needed; in the convento of San Buenaventura of the pueblo of the Jumanos, one friar, who also serves a visita (unnamed) which is also in the snowy mountains, two more men needed. (Scholes, "Documents", 54.)

Again there is no mention of Tenabo, and apparently Tabira is herein a visita of the Jumanos mission instead of a visita of Abó.

In 1669, evidently, the mission at the Jumanos was abandoned; for the Jumanos, 15 leagues away, were ministered to from Quarai for the last five years of its existence, 1669 to 1674 (Hodge, note 54, Ayer, p. 275). Neither Tabira nor the Jumano Pueblo is mentioned in the chapter elections in 1672 (Bloom and Mitchell).

The figure given above for the population of Quarai is probably accurate; according to Vetancurt (Cronica, 324) the population was approximately 600 shortly before abandonment. The "very good provisions for public worship" are confirmed by Vetancurt, who says (op. cit., 324): "La iglesia era de ricos altares y vasos de plata proveida".

Extensive farming and ranching were carried on at the Salinas missions. The number of livestock was apparently smaller at Quarai than at the others, however. It has been mentioned already that one of the counts against Governor López at his residencia in 1661 was losses sustained by the missions because of his refusal to let the Indians work without pay for the friars. The following are among the losses of livestock specified, including sheep, cattle, and oxen: Cuarac, 400 head, Chilili and Tajique, 1350 head, Abó and the Jumanos, 1350 head (Scholes, "Troublous Times", 67). The losses may have been exaggerated, but are certainly large numbers for a period of a few years, and indicate quite large flocks and herds. Considerable losses of maize are also mentioned.

There is a very old apple-orchard at Manzano, a few miles northwest of Quarai, from which the town and the Manzano Mountain range receive their name. It is very possible that this apple-orchard dates from the 17th century, and was set out by the friars of Quarai mission (Bandelier, p. 267).

4. Abandonment: the Apache Pressure

The mission of Quarai was occupied, with little or no break, for forty-five years, from 1629 to 1674. The previous section, on the mission period, was delimited at 1630 because it was in that year that fray Esteban de Perea entered on duty there, beginning actual mission. occupation, and at 1670, because the last few years are years of decline and abandonment. The abandonment of Quarai had apparently begun about 1670, for fray Garcia de San Francisco married Indians from Quarai at El Paso del Norte in 1671 (Walter, p. 27).

The only mention of Quarai between 1670 and its abandonment is the installation of a new priest in 1672. Presumably father Freitas was at Quarai up to that year, as he is mentioned as being there in 1669. In the record of the meeting of the governing board of the custodia at San Diego de Jemez on August 16, 1672, there is the following item, in the list of assignments of priests: "In conventu Conceptionis de Quarac, guardianus et minister, pater frater Didacus de Parraga .... Instituitur." The "installed" opposite each name in the list is in a different handwriting, evidently that of the custodio. (Bloom and Mitchell, "Chapter Elections", 113.) So the father Diego de Parraga; who perhaps had been immoral at Tajique a decade before, was the last priest of Quarai.

During these last years of the Salinas missions, there was no priest at the pueblo of the Jumanos, apparently, and it was ministered to from Quarai (Hodge, n. 54, Ayer, p. 275.).

The Apaches of eastern New Mexico traded occasionally at Taos, Picuries, and Pecos, and at the Piro and Jumano villages of the Salinas area, during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Hostility between Apaches and Pueblos was growing, however, during the seventeenth century. There was an Apache raid on the Jumano village between 1653 and 1656; the attackers profaned the church and carried off twenty-seven women and children (Scholes, "Troublous Times", 396). Nevertheless, the Jumano town served as a base for trade with the Apaches of Siete Rios about 1660.

After 1670, Apache inroads increased in number and force. In 1672 the Apache raids reached even the Zuni country in westernmost New Mexico. In the years 1674 and 1675 all the Salinas missions and pueblos were abandoned, under the pressure of constant Apache attacks.

There may have been other contributing causes for the abandonment, and it has been suggested (Walter, 27) that the real reason for the withdrawal was probably Spanish apprehension of an Apache-Salinas alliance, and desire to relocate the several thousand Salinas Indians where they would not be a potential menace.

There is considerable disagreement as to which Salinas pueblo was first to be abandoned. Bandelier says Tabira probably, and Quarai the first Tiwa pueblo abandoned; Hodge (note 22, Ayer, p. 22) says Chilili was first, between 1669 and 1674; Prince (p. 350) says Quarai was the first.

In any case, Quarai was abandoned in 1674, the inhabitants going 12 miles north to Tajique, taking Father de Llana's body with them and reburying him there.

In 1675, Tajique was abandoned, and the people of Quarai and Tajique went to Isleta. In 1680 they accompanied Otermin in the retreat to El Paso del Norte, and colonized at Ysleta del Sur, Texas, and the other pueblo settlements in the El Paso area. Even in the 1880's, Bandelier says (p. 262), "If the people of the village of Isleta del Sur on the Texan side of the Rio Grande are asked whence their forefathers came, many of them point to the north in reply, saying 'from Cuaray'".

Quarai, like Abó and Tabira, was never reoccupied. The history of the mission of Purisima Concepción and the Pueblo of Cuarac ends in 1674.

5. Rediscovery: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

The only reference to Quarai in the 18th century which has been found is an incident in 1759, when Governor Marin del Valle and a small party came to Quarai on horseback to get the remains of fray Geronimo de la Llana. They could not, of course, find him at Quarai; one of the party told the governor that there was a tradition that de la Llana was buried at Tajique, so they proceeded hither and de la Llana's body was disinterred, one hundred years after his death, for the third time. A discussion arose as to which place was actually Quarai; only eighty-five years after abandonment, the location of Quarai was somewhat uncertain; and as a matter of fact the plaque marking his final resting-place stated he was brought from Quarai. De Llana's body was brought to Santa Fe and reburied in the parish church.

Nothing has been found as yet indicating very clearly the time of reoccupation of the Salinas and of the very beginning of the Mexican villages of Chilili, Tajique, Torreon, Punta de Agua, and Abó. This probably occurred during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The municipal grant for Manzano was issued in 1829, that for Tajique in 1834, those for Torreon and Chilili in 1841 (Bandelier, 255, 259).

In the autumn of 1846, within a few months of the American occupation of Santa Fe, Lieutenant J. W. Abert visited Abó and "Quarra". His report to the Chief of Engineers is the first description of the Salinas ruins published in English (House Exec. Docs. No. 41, 30 Cong. 1, Sess., 1847).

In December 1853 Major J. H. Carleton made a reconnaissance trip from Albuquerque to the ruins of Abó, Quaraa, and Gran Quivira, and published a fuller description (Sen. Misc. Does. No. 24, 33 Cong. 2 Sess. 1854).

In 1863 there was a proposal to rehabilitate Quarai and use it again as a church; but the people at Punta de Agua, less than a mile away, wanted the church at Punta, and so a new church was built.

About 1886 a professor Charles Longuemare of Socorro, New Mexico, visited Abó and Quarai and published an article on them in The Bullion.

Real knowledge of the Salinas ruins begins with the visit of Adolph F. A. Bandelier in 1882. Bandelier was the first to point out that "Gran Quivira" is a terrible misnomer, and identified, perhaps incorrectly, the ruins known locally by that name as Tabira.

6. Rehabilitation: The Museum of New Mexico

In the summer of 1916 the School of American Archaeology (now the School of American Research of the American Institute of Archaeology) at Santa Fe, made preliminary investigations at Quarai, on only the old prehistoric site (the small mound, south of the main ruins). Nothing more was done at Quarai for eighteen years.

In 1934 the Museum of New Mexico and School of American Research included repairs of Quarai mission in their program. The work was done by relief labor under the supervision of Mr. Donovan Senter, during the spring and summer of 1934. The nave was excavated and the church walls repaired, and the baptistry was restored. Further work at Quarai was carried on under the direction of Mr. Albert Ely from November 1934 to May 1935, consisting of excavation of the main part of the monastery. Quarai was made a State Monument in the summer of 1935. From May 1935 to February 1936 the work at Quarai was carried on by Mr. Ele Baker, who excavated the eastern part of the monastery. For over two years nothing more was done at Quarai; the present WPA project there, directed by Mr. Wesley Hurt, Jr., began late in 1938, and has included stabilization and repair of the monastery walls, completion of excavations in the monastery, and a certain amount of excavation in the major pueblo ruins.

Regional Archaeologist.

Last Updated: 01-Apr-2005